"Bring Your Own Blanket" campaign recommended as Tory looks to extend patio season

Oct 21 2020, 9:03 am

The City of Toronto may soon be encouraging you to BYOB.

Bring your own blanket, that is.

Toronto maybe moving forward with a series of recommendations intended to help restaurants and businesses as we venture into the winter months of the pandemic. One such recommendation is the Bring Your Own Blanket campaign to promote snowy patios.

According to a statement, Toronto Mayor John Tory and members of the Executive Committee voted unanimously to move forward with the recommendations, which will ensure the city allows for winter patios on sidewalks and other spaces.

The recommendations will go to City Council for final approval next week.

“This is the right thing to do. We know winter is coming and we need to support winter patios as much as possible now,” said Mayor Tory in a release. “We need to give businesses the flexibility to operate where safe and possible through the winter months.”

While the curb lane patios the city has become accustomed to this summer will cause complications to snow removal, Tory says there are opportunities to continue operating patios in parking lots and other private properties.

The recommendations include extending the CaféTO program until April 14, 2021, waiving fees for curbside and frontage cafés, and supporting the winter economy through campaigns such as “BYOB – Bring Your Own Blanket” that promote winter patios.

Mayor Tory has shown support for restaurants and businesses throughout the pandemic, including launching the CaféTO program in June and more recently announcing the city’s partnership with food delivery apps to support restaurants.

He is continuing discussions with industry leaders and government officials to identify further ways to assist, according to the release.

“These recommendations approved today will allow us to continue the success of CaféTO through the winter and do our part to help a number of these businesses through this difficult time,” said Tory.

These new recommendations are in addition to the planning changes made by the Planning and Housing Committee on October 20, which includes temporarily easing zoning restrictions on outdoor patios.